Friday, September 6, 2013

{This Moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Linking up with SouleMama.

Monday, September 2, 2013


I try to start every morning with a bit of knitting. Despite what may happen during the day, I want to start things off on the right foot (or needle?). Knitting puts me in a happy place. It brings balance to my life.

Things are busy here (so much that it has taken me four days of writing to get this post really going, and hopefully published). I foresee this continuing for the next week until we all fall into a somewhat regular groove again.

This semester I am in class three days a week with a five minute break to get from classroom to work (thankfully, my office is just a building over). That means I am spending 9-10 hours on campus for three days. Not only do I have a full course load of classes at the beginning of the week, but my department is understaffed and those of us that remain are picking up more hours. Goodbye free Fridays!

To add to all of this, Chase starts school on the 3rd. Chase will have an early start to his day, and that I know will take some getting used to, but thankfully by the time he gets home Steve will also be home from work. It's all about balance.

Knitting group is starting again this coming week and I am so excited for that. I miss knitting with other people. I have been so tired the past two weeks that when I come home, I don't knit. Thursday nights I know I will be knitting, and I am looking forward to it.

But now I must go again. I have finished another cup of coffee and there are scones to be made for tomorrow. Oh and I should probably also sit down and look over my classwork, too.

Around and around. Breathe...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday Yarn Along

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Linking up with Small Things..

(I just noticed Agent attempted a photobomb!)

The first sock is complete (it fits Chase's foot with no issues!) and I am so giddy. I really love this pattern. I keep thinking of all the pairs of socks I could make in different colors for different people. I really could be happy just knitting this sock pattern for socks. Plus, not only is the first sock complete, but the ribbed cuff for sock #2 is also so it's back to the super fun knitting!

Last Thursday I dreamed of a locally owned bookstore in my area (I also dreamed of the cookies at the bagel store next door). Chase and I headed to the bookstore Friday morning and I was able to get a copy of House of Earth (and we picked up bagels and cookies, too). I'm only a little bit into it, but so far I am enjoying it. I'm hoping to dedicate more time to it this week and finish before the fall semester starts (eek!)

I'm off to see what everyone else is working on as of late. Happy Wednesday!

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Week About Bees


My apiary is at the back of my house. I visit with my bees every day, rain or shine. They're just so fascinating to watch. Maybe this is a good thing, or a bad thing, having them so close at hand. I try my best not to disturb them (like when we mow the lawn, or I check the happenings in the garden) and just observe. I also take a lot of videos for my Dad. He seems to really enjoy seeing all of the activity.

I sent Dad a video of the bees being bees on Monday. I got up really close to include bees coming in with bright orange in their little pockets. Dad commented that their "doorstep" was dirty and they should really run a broom over the area (ha ha).

Where is all of this going? Well yesterday we had rain all day. It was cool and drippy when I was preparing to leave for work. I decided to take advantage of the weather and grabbed a paper towel with determination to wipe off the "doorstep". The bees, of course, were all indoors, waiting by their entryway. I did a quick swipe with the paper towel and avoided a cluster of bees waiting near the right corner of the entryway. I stood back to see how things looked and to my horror that cluster of bees had an invader cornered. I watched as the bees chased another bug out of the apiary.

My heart sank. My bees had pests! Once I was settled into work I started to do some serious research. It wasn't good. Everything pointed to the infamous Small Hive Beetle. The more I googled, the worse the news was. I saw pictures of hives completely destroyed. Everything I seemed to find was doom and gloom.

I quickly emailed my bee mentor and tried not to panic. I decided that even if it was still raining when I got home I was going to pull out the mite board in the bottom and see what may be on it. Those five hours at work were the longest five hours.

It was muggy when I got home from work. I had already texted Chase to have him meet me with a pair of pliers (so I could snag the mite board quickly) when I pulled in the driveway. Steve came out to watch us.

On the mite board, under the mesh that had come unstuck from the sticky paper, there were two hive beetles. Stuck to the point that they were cornered by bees that were on top, but not actually stuck to the sticky stuff itself. I cried. Steve told me to calm down and not be so emotional (he just doesn't get it). I saw these two mites as a major blow to my beekeeping. How bad was the infestation? Would we open up the apiary and see frame after frame of destroyed honey? What about the girls? Are they healthy? And Daisy? We hadn't seen the queen since my bee mentor came by to help me find her. Was she okay?

Once the bees had left the mite board and headed back indoors (it had started to rain again), I stomped all over the mite board (in case I missed any other beetles) and disposed of it quickly. Now was a time to work up a plan. Chase and I would definitely need a trip to the bee supply store. I decided we were going to supplement them again with sugar water and add a bit of Honey-B-Healthy for good measure. We also needed a beetle trap. Due to having to work on Friday, the soonest Chase and I could get out to the bee supply store would be Saturday. I emailed the local supplier to make sure they had what I needed in stock (they did), and that was that.


It's really cool out today. From what I have read beeks will see an increase in hive pests early in the spring and in fall when the temperatures are cooler. It has been unseasonably cool this week and that is supposed to continue next week, too. I heard back from my bee mentor and she has been very positive. She said that despite what the internet says, hive beetles are seen in every state now. She herself has had a couple of her hives winter with a few beetles and they are just fine in the spring. The key, she says, is to see how the girls are handling them. If they can keep them in check, they're doing just fine. It's when you open up the apiary and they're overrun with beetles you have a problem. She said from what it sounded like my girls were on top of things. She stressed that the beetles don't seek out "weak" hives like the articles say. They just have an easier time of causing problems in a hive that is new, or weak from other reasons.

If anyone asked me directly, I would say I had a strong hive. I suppose every beek wants to say that. The fact of the matter is Chase and I are new-bees (ha ha!) still and are learning every day. We open the hive, we check for brood, pollen, nectar, honey, pests, and yes, Daisy. We had just looked in the hive (granted not all three levels) a week ago and I didn't see any pests. I'm confident we just happened to stumble on to the beginning of an invasion.


I am once again disappointed with our local bee supply store. And let me tell you, when I say local, I mean it is only a 45 minute one-way drive compared to the 90 minute drive to Albion, MI where there is  Dadant location (I will ONLY EVER go there from now on).

The more local place gets most of their supplies from the bigger distributors, and is extremely limited as to what they have in stock. Right now their closet of a showroom is full of boxes of jars for honey collection.

They did have the Honey-B-Healthy, but the beetle trap I wanted that Dadant has, was not what they had in stock.

Despite not being what I wanted, I bought two of them. Call it the desperate act of a worried beek. I'm glad I bought two because they have a curved bottom and would never stand on their own in the apiary.

The idea is that if you have a beetle trap you put a bit of veggie oil in it so when the beetles go in, they get oily and can't get out. I also read that if you add a little apple cider vinegar it will entice them down to the trap and the bees can chase them (I love apple cider vinegar.. it is so useful in pest management!).

Chase and I came home and decided to wait until later in the evening or even in the morning (early) to put the new traps in. It's a gorgeous day and the bees are super busy today.


Those beetle traps? Totally worthless! They're too tall to easily slide into the apiary. It's 6:30 in the morning and I just attempted to install them when I took Koda out for her potty trip. I ended up spilling oil and vinegar on the ground instead. Oh well. The vinegar is good for weeds, and apparently hive beetle larvae have to make the journey from hive to ground before they can pupate. Stupid jerks.

On a side note, my neighbors must think I am looney tunes. I cry over my bees and I swear up a storm early in the morning. Oops.


Steve is working near Albion today! After his case he's going to Dadant to pick up the beetle trap that I need. I already called them to confirm they had them in stock (they do).

I also want to mention that the mite boards that are just sticky paper with the mesh on top are pretty worthless. Our board began to warp and the paper peel in layers after we had a week of hot and humid temps. They're inexpensive, and I think that is what is appealing to beeks, but from my point of view they have contributed to more issues than prevented. 


I have the beetle trap! However, I'm leaving for work by noon (in an hour) and it's only 57 degrees. Too cool to get in the apiary right now.


It was down to 49 overnight and slowly is warming up today. I have a smidge more time before work today, but I think we'll need to wait until tomorrow to install the trap. I don't want to rush through this. 

I've been working on a plan of "attack" all week for when Chase and I had the opportunity to enter the apiary.

I already decided we had to check each level and every frame for signs of beetles or any other problems. The last time I saw the bottom level there was eight frames of honey. I figure these would be the ones most likely to be damaged. Of course we'll check on pollen collection, brood count, etc. I'd also like to give them all a good dusting of powdered sugar to be on the safe side.

I think we'll light the smoker, too. I haven't had to smoke the bees at all, but not knowing their mindset due to the beetles, and the fact I will be taking apart their home completely, I'd rather have calm bees to work with.

Tomorrow.. tomorrow.. 


After Chase and I inspect the apiary, we like to sit down (and cool off!) and discuss what we saw and how successful we feel the inspection went.

I won't beat around the bush here, this inspection went extremely well! The biggest hassle through the whole thing was unsticking each level from the one below it. I was afraid of jarring the bees too much and upsetting them. They handled it all very well.

The apiary completely apart. 

I decided to leave the inner cover on the top box because history has told me that the queen and her brood frames are up there. I wanted them to stay as comfortable as possible as one could be while their house was being taken apart. Despite all three levels of the apiary being split, the bees were handling it well and I didn't need to smoke them again through the rest of the process.

I was quite pleased when we got to the bottom board only to see TWO hive beetles there, both being guarded by a group of bees. I did see in the shreddings of the original mite board about half a dozen beetle larvae. All non-bee insects were squished and Chase scrubbed the bottom board clean.

Hive beetle.

Hive beetle trap.
We installed the trap and I added veggie oil and a bit of the apple cider vinegar before putting the grate on top. We'll check it in about 14 days to see if there are any beetles in there.

The next part was to check the bottom box and see if there was any damage. NONE! There were still eight frames of honey, but two frames had brood. I confirmed these were bee brood and not beetle larvae (nope, bee brood), and made note of which frames they were for the future. All those present were dusted with powdered sugar.

We next put the second box back on top. This one has three empty frames (one of which they are working on drawing out the comb). A few honey frames, pollen of many colors, nectar, and more brood! The most fascinating part of the second box is that the brood we found was nearly complete. The bees we saw in there were albino and resembled huge-eyed aliens. Most of the brood was capped, but three were at a point where we could see them. I'm combing through the photos Chase took to see if he did get a picture or not. There was more powdered sugar sprinkled here.

At this point two of our boxes were clean and looking healthy so I was in high spirits to check the top box. There were two empty frames there, and a repeat of what we found in the other two boxes. A couple of frames of capped honey, pollen/nectar, and brood (4 frames of brood!). We were watching bees coming in with pollen loaded in their pockets deciding to hang out on the outside of the boxes and clean off those that were dusted with sugar. It was quite amusing to watch.

Not sugared, but heavy with pollen.

A month ago when Dale was over for my bee inspection I saw a lot of brood on frame 17. I moved it from the second box to the top along with three others. Two weeks ago when Chase and I checked the hive that particular frame had hatched its young and she was starting to lay in the frame again.  It just so happened that today when I pulled frame 17 there was Daisy working her way across the frame. Oh Daisy! I know it is nice to see that she is laying and everything is fine, but seeing her alive and well makes all that worrying worth while.

After seeing Daisy, I quickly looked over the last two frames and then dusted everyone with powdered sugar and closed up the apiary.

Next on the list is preventative upkeep around the apiary to prevent easy access to the bees. Koda is diligently working on eating the weeds (I swear that dog is part cow!), but we're going to surround the area with cedar shavings. When the apiary is closed for the season, we're going to brick out the area to help keep down the weeds and to give the earwigs less of a chance to hang out in the area waiting to get in (and of course, the beetles won't have an easy time either). I also need to do another sprinkling of cinnamon for the ants.

The feeder doesn't fit in the apiary with the beetle trap in there, plus it didn't look like they had touched the sugar water at all while it was out there, so I disposed of it.

It looks like Labor Day weekend is when we'll do our next check, and then we'll need to work out our plans for fall and wintering.

But for now.. all is back to being right in the bee world.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday Yarn Along

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Linking up with Small Things..

I was cruising right along with my own toxic socks two weeks ago with little care in the world. I turned the heel, I was almost to that two inch mark before the toe when I suddenly thought this would be the right time to try the sock on. There was certainly a problem when I put it on my foot and I couldn't get it past my heel. And there definitely was a problem when Chase couldn't get it on his foot, either.

The problem is it being a colorway sock pattern. I have knitted socks for myself in the past on size 1 needles and they fit fine. But with those two colors everything becomes tightly knitted together. The cuff part (done in just one color) stretched and fit fine. But from then on down it was too tight for an adult sized foot. So I ripped out. All the way back to the cuff. I spoke with Mom about my situation and she suggested I go up to a size 3 for the rest of the sock.

I've put my own pair of socks on hold for the time being. I am knitting a pair as a gift currently in a different color. I still love this pattern. Once I get past the boring cuff part and can work the pattern, it just seems to fly on by. I'm to the heel turning point on the first gifting sock and eager to pass that crucial point again. I'm seriously considering once I get past the turning heel, I might cast on the cuff for the second sock so I can jump right into the "fun part" once the first sock is done.

Chase has been a very patient model for me in this process. He says the worst part is when I am pulling the sock on his foot and my fingers tickle the bottom of his foot. Apparently, at least according to him, I owe him a pair of socks for his assistance in this. ;) 

My ravelry notes are here.

I finished reading Letters from Skye and absolutely loved it. I haven't started a new book yet. I wrote up a list of books I'd like to read last week and am just waiting until Friday to go pick one up. Besides, things are so unbelievably busy right now at work, I don't have a lot of time to get in a page or two.

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Because... bees

I don't think I talk nearly as much here about my bees as I should. I talk about them constantly on Facebook and to anyone who is willing to listen.

I love bees.

I love to talk to people about them. I love to learn from other beekeepers. I love to show my bees to other people. I just can't get enough.

As we enter our third month of beekeeping, I am giddy each time I check on our girls. Chase is still my number one assistant (he has only been absent from one hive check), and the person I feel most confident in having me help with the hive. Steve is still nervous around them, and I can't fault him with that, but Chase just oozes beekeeping confidence. Plus everything I read, Chase reads and studies. While he hasn't held an active frame yet himself (he prefers taking pictures of everything to examine closely later), he always looks them over for any signs of disease and asks many questions. Plus, he thinks that bee larvae is "just so cute!".

Shortly after Chase left for two weeks with the grandparents, I thought I witnessed questionable behavior of the bees that had me sending a flurry of expletitives into the early morning air *ahem*. Per my uncle's suggestion, I installed a mite board to monitor over the summer. Just two days before when Chase and I checked it all looked fine. When I did a morning check before work I saw what looked like the bees trying to make comb where the corner of the board had curled up (I blame humidity on that one). I scheduled Steve and my friend Dale to assist with a hive check later in the week when the weather was to be cooler.

Turns out it was just the paper backing peeling on the bottom of the mite board. *whew* But while I was already in there, I decided that the bi-level was going to become a tri-level. I also made a rookie mistake when Chase and I added on the second level and I didn't move the brood frames up. So Daisy was having to work extra hard (oops). This time I moved the brood frame (17) and three others up to the third story and replaced them with empty frames on the second level (yes, I number frames for peace of mind).

As soon as we got home from Buffalo, Chase asked when we could check on the bees. We planned it out for the following morning before I left for work and we had an extremely positive hive check. Once again Chase and I worked like a well-oiled machine. We still haven't directly seen Daisy (our queen), but the evidence that she is around are there!

The week before when Dale was over, this frame had brood on both sides. When Chase and I checked most of the brood was gone, and new larvae was laid in some of the cells.

This is one of three additional frames of brood that we found. So in a week, Daisy was extremely busy! Chase was beside himself with excitement.

Right now I am focusing on winter (kind of funny to be thinking about it in August). I want to make sure my hive survives this winter. According to SEMBA , over 53% of member hives were lost last year. I don't want to be part of a statistic! In the next week or two Chase and I will be sitting down and putting together a winterizing plan for them.

Until then, I'm staying optimistic that everything is buzzing along.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Remembering Buffalo

(On the eve of our family trip to Buffalo, my cousin Melissa was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. While the trip still went on, a few of the planned events were postponed for the time being. If you are interested, you can follow Melissa's journey at her new blog Melissa Beats Lymphoma).

When Gram passed away a couple of years ago, her body was donated to the University of New York at Buffalo medical school (per her request). I thought, and still do, think that donating your body to science is an excellent idea. Gram didn't want a funeral or anything big. She just wanted her cremains to be scattered in a garden and life would go on as it always did. After she had passed, and it was made known that there wasn't going to be a family get-together, many of the grandchildren protested. We all never got a real chance to say goodbye to our Grampy (we were all between the ages of 8 and early teenagedom), and this didn't seem fair. In the end it was decided that once the cremains were given to my aunt, there would be a celebration of Gram.

So over the last weekend in July, those of that could made our way to Buffalo to do just that. Friday evening we all met for dinner and enjoyed beef on weck (see? Buffalo is not just known for their wings!), and to catch up. Steve got to meet my Aunt Sue and Uncle Tom, and I got my hands back on Chase (he was in Delaware for two weeks and came up with Dad and Fara).

Now to back track just a bit: A couple of months ago Fara did some research and found out that you could do a helicopter tour over Philadelphia. Knowing that Chase is quite interested in aircraft and helicopter design, she thought it would be a great idea if she and Dad took Chase for a tour. As the time neared for our trip to Buffalo, Fara instead arranged for them to do a tour over Niagara Falls in a helicopter (Chase has never been to Niagara Falls before so this was an extra special treat).

Saturday morning Steve and I watched as Chase, Dad, and Fara went up into a helicopter and toured Niagara Falls. Chase took video of the entire tour (which he really needs to upload!) and was thrilled to have had the opportunity to do so (leading up to this point we had joked that he was going to go over the Falls.. in a barrel.. ahem).


After the helicopter tour, it was my turn to designate the next "Remember Gram" stop. One of the many things that Gram was interested in, or loved, were carousel horses. In Tonawanda, there is the original Herschell Carrousel Factory. One particular memory I have was going when I was little and there was a thunderstorm at the time and I could hear the thunder above the music. I didn't know if they still were open (they were), and I wasn't sure if anyone else wanted to go (they did).

Steve loves anything historical. While riding the carousel is a highlight of the tour, for me, I still love the music.

Saturday evening we all met at Aunt Sue and Uncle Tom's home for a celebration party. My aunt took on the task of making many of the items that Gram used to make for all of us (homemade pizza, bread, her apple crumble..). We joked, we told stories, and we had an all around great time. While there Uncle Tom showed me his apiaries(!) and Chase got to see his chicken coop. Chase and Dad set off fireworks and in the end we all parted after having a wonderful evening.

Sunday morning we gathered up Chase, said our good-byes, and we all parted ways. Steve and I have decided that we want to visit more often. I love my Aunt Sue and Uncle Tom and feel badly that I haven't been back more often to see my extended family.

Of course any visit wouldn't be complete with a visit to a yarn store! I did a web search before our trip and decided I simply had to visit Have Ewe Any Wool. I was on a mission to find unique buttons (or toggles!) for my newly completed sweater. Plus some new yarn doesn't hurt, either. ;-)

I saw those fish buttons and fell in love. They actually match my sweater quite well and I love the blue tinge they have. The yarn is actually a sage green (when I took this picture it was rather cloudy out and the light wasn't working with me inside. Okay, I admit it, I don't have the name of the yarn handy (I'm finishing this post up while at work), but it's 100% alpaca and that skein is almost 700 yards of delicious squishy goodness. I plan on knitting myself a really awesome scarf, and perhaps a hat, for this winter. Some time when I vish a yarn shop out of town, I am going to carve some time out of my schedule to sit and knit with the locals. Next time!

We are all home and safe from our little weekend trip, living on the memories (and the honey and farm eggs Uncle Tom sent us home with)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wednesday Yarn Along (a day late)

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Linking up with Small Things..

I have never knitted using two circular needles before. I found the irony in this considering A Good Yarn has the knitters doing so and it was written that it was much simpler. When I ordered the pattern and yarn a month ago with this being strictly a "road project", I ordered two circular needles because I prefer to knit both socks at the same time. Little did I know I'd actually need both of them. Ahem. Before we went on vacation I did cast the socks on one needle and couldn't figure out how it was done. Then I cast them on DPNs but I wanted to knit them as they were supposed to be knitted (and I feared losing tiny DPNs in the car). Off to youtube I went!

It just makes so much sense! I found this video to be extremely easy to follow. I did a practice run on larger needles just to make sure I got it, and then I started on my socks. Fun, fun, fun!

So the sock pattern is from Knitpicks and is called Toxic Socks. My notes for it will be here. I already know that my socks aren't going to be as long as those in the pattern. I shortened the ribbing to two inches instead of three, and will probably only do one more round of the pattern before starting the heel. I don't wear long socks, so I figured I would make a pair that I wouldn't bunch down around my ankles.

I'm still reading Letters from Skye. I admittedly haven't picked it up since last Thursday (things are extremely hectic at work), but I am hoping to carve out some reading time this weekend.

xoxo Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wednesday Yarn Along

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Linking up with Small Things..

It's done! I am so excited that I finished my sweater this week. I was getting nervous since this is the first time I ever knitted a sweater for myself and adjusted a pattern to make it fit. I am so pleased with the results. I knew I wouldn't have enough yarn to do the big collar the pattern called for, especially after knitting the sleeves a bit longer, but I'm happy with the simple collar I went with. With the little bit of yarn I have left, I knitted a small pocket and stitched it on the left side this morning. So, so excited!

The only thing I need now are buttons or toggles. I have a few bee themed buttons in my stash, but I really want to stick with the toggles that was suggested for this pattern. I am hoping this weekend if I get the chance to visit a yarn shop in NY, I can find toggles that meet my needs.

Last week I finished the second book in the Blossom Street series, A Good Yarn, and was not disappointed! I love the characters in these books and am looking forward to continuing through the series.

Over the weekend I picked up a copy of Letters from Skye. B&N recommended it as a pre-release book to me and I was intrigued with the mention of WWI and WWII. So far I am enjoying it, and the easy correspondence between the two main characters.

I think my next task will be rolling the yarn for my road trip project into balls and possibly ripping out the old shawl to start the new shawl next week.

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wednesday Yarn Along

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Linking up with Small Things..

I stopped reading Gone Girl two weeks ago. I honestly can say that every time I picked it up to read it left me feeling angry. Better not to continue on that moody path for now. I think part of me was looking for a light, cheerful read at the time and that book is definitely not it. I'll probably finish it later this year, but for now there are many aspects of the storyline and the writing style, that just irks me.

Instead, after much advice from Mom, I picked up the first book Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street series. Much better! This was exactly what I was looking for. I finished The Shop on Blossom Street last week and started A Good Yarn Monday night. I think that summer reading calls for light, enjoyable reading.

I'm on the last skeins of yarn for the sleeves for the sweater now. I was hoping to get a lot of car knitting done on Sunday, but I did four rows and put it up for the rest of our trip. I have other things I want to be working on and these sleeves seem to be dragging on. I decided the circular shawl I knit for Jody just does not meet my expectations. I wanted a bigger shawl, and even though I did make it larger than the pattern originally called for, it just is not what I wanted. I've been pulling it and guessing the size it might reach with blocking, but I think I am going to pull it all out and knit a new shawl for her instead. 

So that is where I stand right now. Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!


Gone, Again

Steve and I drove to Somerset, PA on Sunday (the halfway point between us and Delaware) to drop Chase off with my parents for the next two weeks. Chase has been home for all of two weeks since being at camp and he is off on another adventure. We'll be driving to upstate New York to pick him up when my extended family meets at the end of the month for a disbursement of Gram's ashes (she passed away two years ago and her body was donated to science -- my aunt received her ashes back from the medical school a few months ago). It seems like he is coming and going all summer (when he gets back, he'll have less than a week before he goes on a canoeing camping trip with his Scout troop). Home long enough to wash out his things, then off again to another part of the country.
My mind is confused this summer with real time. While I know that it is only the middle of July, I'm riddled with the fact that it is the middle of July and summer is going by fast.
My garden is behind other gardens. We have lots of little tomatoes, some lettuce, and I spotted a few snow peas this morning. I look at the healthy eggplant, the radishes, and carrots and wonder why they're not growing like other gardens. But then I have to remind myself that we had frost until the last week in May and my garden didn't get planted until the first weekend in June. I also decided to throw caution to the wind and didn't start anything indoors (after Jessie ate all the seedlings the year before, I don't trust her) so they're taking their time. My goal right now is to water when we don't have rain, weed when I can. I never clear out the garden at the end of fall, so whatever is there when it snows, will be there (plus I seem to grow a lot of cauliflower and brussel sprouts when there is snow -- no idea how I manage that!). In real time this is fine. Gardens can't be rushed, nor should they be.
The bees are looking fantastic. We're having a hard time keeping our hands off from them and are spending a lot of time observing them. I update my dad daily on the color of the pollen I see coming in and Chase likes to guess where they may be collecting it from. Before Chase left he insisted we do a hive check (it had been three weeks since Daisy's home became a two-story) so we could see how they were doing (plus Chase is obsessed with their health). Daisy and her girls have been working extremely hard! Two of the frames we pulled had capped honey on them. To stand there and be able to smell the honey is amazing. Two of my friends came over to watch our hive check and were rather impressed with how gentle our bees are. I'm pleased to report that our mite board was clear of pests, and no other issues were observed (save for a few earwigs hiding under the lid -- those pests!). I know that soon we'll start having to think toward fall and winter for them, but for now, it's okay to just sit back and watch and listen.
(Courtesy SarahRaven Photography)
 I think the hardest part with dealing with real time is work related. We're working on getting students registered for fall classes. We've been doing this since April. The push is on this week to get students in for an express registration day where they can get everything turned in and completed with the goal being able to register for classes by the time they leave. It's going to be a hectic day and I am glad I was not scheduled to work it! It's hard to focus on one day at a time, one month at a time, when we are thinking three months ahead of time, all the time.
 I thought that this summer was going to be the summer of relaxing, but it seems to be the summer of doing, and going. Oh well. Perhaps there will be a slow down in the fall? ;-)


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wednesday Yarn Along

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Linking up with Small Things..

I picked up a copy of Gone Girl last week and am crawling my way through it. Around the same time I picked up the book, I picked up that pesky upper respiratory infection that seems to be making the rounds everywhere as of late. Every time I went to read and rest, I ended up resting more than reading! I kind of have a sneaky feeling on how this story is going to go, so I look forward to seeing if I am right or not.

In sweater news I am pleased to say the back is done. The left and right front panels are done. I am now knitting both sleeves concurrently and am slowly trucking along. I was reviewing the pattern over the weekend and am not sure how the sweater will end. I don't like the fact the sleeves are 15 inches before the cap shoulder part so I am going to make them a suitable length for me. This may cut in to how much yarn I have available for the collar. But hey.. I am fantastic with improv!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wednesday Yarn Along

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Linking up with Small Things..
Hello Friends! It appears that I have taken another unintentional break from the blogging world again. I'm still out here, reading everything, I guess I just don't have a lot to post of my own. Sometimes I feel it is the same things I always write about and perhaps I feel I bore myself with the same old same old. I'm going to really try to be a little bit more active (especially since I seem to have a lot of down time while at work), so we'll see how this goes.

Last month I knitted, and finished, my cowboy cowl. Steve actually picked out this pattern when we were in Traverse City back in April (it's funny when something catches his eye in a yarn shop!). It was a fun pattern to knit and the yarn from a local farm is absolutely wonderful and soft. I am looking forward to the fall/winter when I can wear my cowl more.

Since I finished that project, I decided to break into the generous stash of yarn I have from Jody and finally knit myself a sweater. I found the pattern in a winter edition of Knit Simple and decided to try my hand at converting a pattern up to my size. So far the only problems I have had was working the pattern stitches and decreasing for the arm holes. But that's what twenty-plus stitch markers are for, right? My notes for the cardigan are here. If the sweater doesn't work out for me, I'll just give it to Mom instead. So the back is finished, and up there in the photo is the beginning of the left front panel. I have to admit I am really enjoying this project a lot.

I'm currently not reading anything new. Over the past month I have read Beekeeping for Dummies (which I have found to be far more helpful compared to The Beekeeper's Handbook) and Robbing the Bees, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I confess that when I knit at home (oh gosh, if I could knit at work...) I usually am watching something off from Netflix. My obsession right now is Grey's Anatomy. I'm not a huge bandwagon TV viewer, so I missed the series when it was first on. I am definitely loving it now, however!

So that is the yarn themed update for now. I will try for another general update in the next few days.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Adventures in Beekeeping

Since the day my package bees were ordered, I have done nothing but wait until May 4th to arrive. I’ve done reading, asked many questions of those that have more experience, and attended lectures with Chase (he and I have poured over the same books). The days leading up to “Bee Day” I watched the weather, made plans on what we would do if it were to be raining, and prepped all of our gear. Chase and I decided on the way we thought was best to install our bees, and planned for the best.
Two days before we picked up our bees, we set out our apiary (to prepare the neighbors for the eventuality of our beekeeping), checked our suits, and I made fondant patties to feed them.
The morning of “Bee Day” we took our time having breakfast, wandered to the coffee shop for special drinks, and looked over one of our books again just to make sure we were satisfied with our plan. The bees were an hour one-way trip for us, and we were both nervous and excited about our adventure.
There is something to be said arriving at a supplier to pick up bees. There were two farm trucks ahead of us picking up 25 packages of bees apiece. The sight, the sounds, the smells, all of it was amazing to be a part of. Chase was admittedly a bit nervous about a package of bees riding in the back of the car back home. I was still keeping an eye to the sky (even though the weather was supposed to be clear). On the way back home we chatted about what we would do if we were stung and how we would react *ahem*.
My biggest concern was that I didn’t just want to dump and run the bees. I wanted to make sure they all got in there and had plenty of supplemental food. I feared they wouldn’t have anything to eat outside of the hive because we still were in the early parts of spring and the weather was cold, and that they would starve in the first two weeks. Ultimately in the end we decided to also put the syrup can that came with them into the hive and put a second, empty super on top of the first one. 
Koda is fascinated with the bees!
Installation went amazingly well. Our neighbor asked questions from a distance (something I wouldn’t have minded so much if I wasn’t handling over 10,000 bees – but at least she wasn’t afraid!), and Chase and I worked together to get Daisy (I named her after my favorite Downton Abbey character), and her colony in to their new home. Satisfied with the installation, we left the open container with a few stragglers outside the apiary and stood back to watch. It didn’t take long for the bees to signal to those still not inside that this was their new home. Amazing. 

She can go up to the apiary and stick her nose right in the entrance!
Chase is becoming a great beekeeper!
They're absolutely amazing to watch!

It was a busy morning!
I think the hardest part of beekeeping is the hands-off part. Waiting two weeks until I could check on them was utterly agonizing. I attended the bee seminar at WWOW where I got my bee fix, not to mention I found an apiary webcam and watch bees whenever I need a bee fix. Like "Bee Day", the two week mark where we could go in and check the apiary was just as exciting.
After graduation, Chase and I suited up and prepped our tools to go into the hive. What we found was beautiful comb built up on the inner lid of the hive, not the provided comb. 

The bees did exactly what they do: they built up. But it wasn't what I wanted them to do! I had followed the instructions from the book (and from the local beekeeping group) and now we were in trouble. I carefully put the lid back down and covered the hive and quickly texted my aunt to ask my uncle questions on what to do. Through our phone call he confirmed why they did what they did, and gave advice as to how we could handle the situation. Chase and I suited up again and went back out to fix things in the hive.

Our peeking in the hive earlier had jarred two of the combs that they had built and they had fallen onto the frames below. Chase and I worked to clear the bees off the combs to scrape them off the inner lid. Only after that did I think to check the fallen comb (and I really think the queen was located on one of those two fallen ones).

At this point I realized that wearing sandals to tend to the bees was probably not the greatest of ideas. I saw the bee go in my sandal, I felt it, and I reacted instinctively. Yup. Stung. Oh my .. I was stung when I was little but I didn't remember it. And everything Chase and I had said about if we got stung about reaction went out the window. I yelled. I cursed. I didn't run around, but I did call for Mom to come out and remove the stinger from my toe for me. I'm happy to say that I am not allergic to bees, but my toe smarts!

Chase was standing at the hive, scraping the rest of the comb from the lid and I begged Steve (who has wanted to have a hands-off part in the beekeeping) to suit up and help Chase. Steve did, and he said it was an amazing experience to be working with the bees, to listen to them humming away and being so close to them. I think he just may be hooked. :-)
Right now I have no idea what the status of our queen is. I carefully looked over the pieces of the comb, taking in account that there were a few squished victims between the larvae-heavy pieces of comb. I saw one bee that was definitely not a drone, but might possibly have been the queen or a worker. Our supplier does not mark the queens, and she was so badly injured I can't say if it was Daisy or not. Chase and I went into the hive briefly the next day and on the 6th frame there was quite a bit of activity in one corner. Chase and I are hoping that she didn't get squished and was back at work laying. 
This weekend we're going to check on the hive again. If I don't see signs of her I'll have to find someone who has queens for sale. We're fighting the clock on this, and I don't want an entire hive lost.

These busy days

I have once again neglected my spot in the blogosphere and I feel guilty for doing so. I have been reading (and commenting) as usual, but my own writing has fallen to the wayside. Journaling in general has taken a back seat to recent activities (I realized last week that it had been a month since I updated Chase’s journal…oops). Part of it is because I have been busy with end of semester dealings, part of it has to do with things being busy at work, and another part is that I felt I didn’t have much to share and therefore I just didn’t write at all. Steve has been spending most of his time out of town with work so after I get home from work, and from picking up Chase, I usually found myself grabbing a quick dinner and settling in to knit (there is always room for knitting) and watch TV.
Now that things have quieted down (somewhat), I am hoping I can get back on a somewhat regular blogging schedule. I knew back in the middle of March when I came down with bronchitis that I would be heading into a busy spring (of course these are the things one thinks about when they’re sick instead of, you know, getting better).
In April I was hoping to have all of my classwork for the semester done by the time we went to Traverse City, Michigan for the annual spring barbershop convention. One class was complete, but leading up to the day we left for Traverse City, I still had to wait to finish a class (turns out the final wasn’t available until the first week in May, so I was far ahead of the game).
Spring convention was an eye-opening experience for all the choruses who went. Steve’s chorus came in 5th this year; a disappointing blow to their cumulative egos especially considering they had been coached for months beforehand (to be fair all of the performing choruses scored worse this year than the past year by roughly 3 points each – I think it’s because there were two new judges). But it seems that they are going to pick themselves up by the boot strings, dust off their keisters, and work harder for next year.
Traverse City was a wonderful experience for me. I’ve never been before and I was looking forward to seeing this part of Michigan. I had already researched a coffee house and a yarn shop (priorities!) and was not disappointed by either. It actually snowed our first night there. When we left on Sunday to come home, Steve took me out to where the cherry orchards were and I got to see all those lovely trees. I’d love to go back again during their cherry festival and see everything in bloom.
The first weekend of May brought with it one of my dreams coming true: It was Bee Day! I'll write more about beekeeping and the adventures/mishaps we have had since that day in another post.
Mother’s Day weekend I went to WWOW again with Dale. She and I had an excellent time together. The weather was chilly (we had frost Sunday morning and Monday morning!), but overall it didn’t put a freeze on our good spirits. We’re both hoping to go back again next year with my Mom with us.
I think what was so different about the beginning of May was that Mom was not here for our birthday. This is the first time in many years that she has not been here, but don't fret, it was for a good reason. Mom opted to come in after Mother's Day to be here for my graduation. She just went back to Indiana today and I miss her terribly. This visit didn't seem like it was very long, and the fact that for two days there was lots of activity and family gathered, I think it felt even shorter.

Graduation. Technically I graduated and received my degree back in December. The school only walks students once a year so this was a delayed celebration. Up until the night before, I honestly was more excited about it being two weeks since the bees arrived compared to walking (I really will get that post up!). Maybe it was because I had earned my degree already so I wasn’t stressed to the end of finals hoping to pass. I’m not sure, but I only had a slight flitter of a butterfly as we were finally entering the stadium and from that moment on, I spent my time smiling and enjoying the day. My brother, Adam, and his girlfriend Candace, actually came up from Indiana to watch me graduate. Dad and Fara came from DE, of course. Add in Steve, Chase, Mom, and Steve’s parents and I had quite the cheering section. One of my co-workers also was graduating so we sat together and cheered for each other. It was nice to have a familiar face in a sea of graduates! My brother and his girlfriend and Dad and Fara all went home Sunday afternoon. 
When did Chase get so tall??

While Mom was here I took a day off from work so we could go to my newest favorite yarn shop in Plymouth, MI and also visit the farmers’ market that is held on our street. Unfortunately my work hours will prevent me from visiting the market this summer, so I wanted to get a visit in and see the new vendors while I could. I will probably need to take some time off later in the summer so I can see all of the fruits and veggies that come in to season!

Of course while Mom was here we spent much time knitting and sipping coffee at the local spot. She is busy working on my Christmas sweater and I am working on a cowl for myself (I’ll share more info on the Yarn Along post). Mom also decided to put her Cajun cookbook we gave her for Christmas to good use and ordered in crawfish to make etouffee. Chase was hopeful to rescue one of the crawfish from the boiling pot and keep it as a pet in his aquarium, but sadly the crawfish did not live for more than a day. I also learned out that I have apparently developed an allergy to shellfish. I find this extremely disappointing as I do enjoy shrimp (and this is something I am going to have to remember for the future). 

And now the house is quiet again. Steve had to head out of town for work on Sunday, but is due back in tonight and is working locally for the rest of the week. Chase has been keeping himself busy with Scouts and end of the school year activities. Hard to believe he is on the cusp of being a middle-schooler.

I think that is about it for updates save for those additional posts I need to make... ;-)


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday Yarn Along

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Linking up with Small Things..

It does seem like forever since I posted with the yarn-along.  It's not for a lack of knitting, trust me! Balancing work, school, family (including a child with a cold and a cat with a health crisis), I have just not felt like blogging. I read and catch up on blogs while I'm at work when there are a few quiet moments, but haven't had a chance to really reply. 

Two weeks ago our family went off to the spring fiber expo. It was about a third of the size of the fall one (and no camel, sadly), but it was still a lot of fun. Chase goes for the lady with the angora rabbits. He fell in love with one that was for sale and was trying to convince me how he had to have her (even told me he would use the money he earned shoveling snow this winter to buy her). I convinced him that instead of buying the rabbit I would buy a ball of her roving (the gray tribble looking blob there) and would spin it into yarn and eventually knit him something snuggly. Now I just need to learn how to use my wheel *sigh*. The pink roving has a bit of sparkle to it and was at a booth that had it in a "grab bag". It was no real purpose other than to be sparkly and pretty and soft. The yarn at the top of the picture I had to have not only for the mixture of blues and purples and black, but the name of the dye job is "Roller Derby Girl". Oh yes.

Knitting wise I am finishing up the last little bits of the secret knitting (See that little yellow curly down there?) and hope to be done with that by Friday. Whew! And because that project is almost done, I started a carry project that desperately needs to be the focus of my energies for a while. My friend Jody (who has gifted me with so much yarn in the past year) is in need of prayers. Her husband was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer that has spread to his liver and kidneys around Thanksgiving. I want her to have a prayer shawl, something not overly heavy (she lives in Florida), and something very large. I opted to go with the Vortex Shawl and I am using my stash of Quince&Co. yarn for it. I love this pattern because right now it's just repeating two rows. I pray for her Jody and her husband and family while I knit, and think of them only when working on it. It's also a nice project right now that I can keep in my purse and take with me so if I have a few moments before work, or waiting to drop Chase off at the bus, I can work on it. 
I heard about The Supremes at Earl's-All-You-Can-Eat a couple of weeks ago in an email blast from Barnes and Noble. After reading the first chapter online, I knew this book sounded too good to pass up. I have to say that so far, it was worth the gamble!

I hope everyone is enjoying this first day of Spring (we have flurries here today). Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The quiet

There are many reasons why I've been quiet around here for two weeks now. Everything and everyone is okay, I just needed a little blogging break.

Two weeks ago we lost power for two days when a limb came down on our power lines during winter storm Rocky. That was the beginning of my silent fest. Then this week is spring break out at the college and I have been enjoying the earlier closing hours (and the fact I'm ahead in my classes and can enjoy the time).

Steve has spent a good portion of his time this year out of state working. This week he actually has been close to home and I have been loving having him around. It certainly gets lonely when he is gone for so long. He'll be heading out again next week for at least two days so I am sucking up all of the time I can with him.

Chase is continuing on his path of independence. He has insisted that I not chaperone his field trip to the medical school next week, and does not want me to come in to pick him up after a Scout meeting. I'm watching him grow up and stand on his own two feet and I am both proud and sad at the same time.

And now as I sit here finishing my first cup of coffee, I hear the stirrings of my family waking up for the day. We have adventures planned for this beautiful Saturday.

Happy weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday Yarn Along

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Linking up with Small Things..

I'm still chugging along with my secret knitting. I have given myself a deadline of March 1st to be finished with this project. I don't like deadlines, but in this case, I really need it. A gift is waiting to be sent that relies on this project to be complete. So a deadline it is! And actually, I'm doing pretty well at keeping up with this project. But I am ready to move on to something new, and I have projects waiting to be cast-on.

I finished reading Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend over the weekend. I just couldn't put it down. Oh Budo..sweet wonderful Budo. I loved him even though he wasn't my imaginary friend, and I loved his human friend just as much.

I'm taking a turn in a different direction with my latest read. My brother loves the Dresden Files series of books and sent the first four books to Chase to read with the strict instructions that I read them, too. Well, Chase finished the series he had been reading and picked up Storm Front on Monday. By the time I came home from work he was done with it! So I have started to read it. Not too much to report three chapters in. Harry Dresden is a wizard in modern-day Chicago. Sort of a wizarding detective, if you will.

Alright, I'm off to knit for a bit. Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesday Yarn Along

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Linking up with Small Things..

It's finished!

The last minute skein order arrived Thursday. I rushed home from knitting group excited to feel and smell that skein of yarn (of course I had to offer it to Jessie for a good whiff, too). My prediction of a snow (ice) day for Friday was on my mind and I figured I would spend my day knitting the last bit of this sweater.

And for the most part, that is what happened between cookie baking and game playing with Chase. :-) I officially finished the collar and the little bits and bobs on it Saturday morning. Hooray! I plan on taking it to knitting group tomorrow evening and then it is off to Indiana for Mom. I begged her to please have my brother take pictures of her in it for me. Chase tried it on (and of course it's too big on him) and it looks good, but I think it will look best on the person it was meant for.

I haven't knitted since (I'm shocked, too!). Sunday was just too busy, and Monday the schools were closed again due to ice (I still had work, however) and last night I was dozing off before 9. I plan on taking my secret knitting with me to work on in the car before work today. I'm ready to finish this project and move on to the others I have lined up.

I did start reading a new book this week during quiet moments at work: Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend. I'm not too far into the book just yet, but I have learned about Budo (the imaginary friend) and the little boy who thought him up, Max. So far it is a slightly funny, heartwarming story. I know this book is going to make me cry.

So what is everyone else up to? I hope to stop by and visit with you all today!

Happy Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday Yarn Along

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Linking up with Small Things..

I really had hoped to be showing a finished sweater this week. The sad thing is, I am so close to the end that I can taste it. What happened? I lost a skein of yarn! I kid you not. I keep excellent notes on how many skeins are used per section of a sweater project and I have used six (and I had seven on hand). I have no idea where that last skein has disappeared to. I know that when I started working on the sleeves very casually over the summer, I had a skein or two rolled into a ball shoved into one, or maybe two, different to-go bags. The only thing I can figure is that the last skein is hiding in one of these bags and I just can't find said bag. I went through three totes of yarn looking for it but no such luck. Thankfully an email to Leanne at Beaverslide informed me they still had the yarn in stock and a skein is making its way here. Whew! This weekend it will be finished. I want this sent to Mom in the next week.

Since I am definitely forced to stop working on the sweater, I've returned to my secret knitting and have also done two gauge swatches for upcoming projects. It would be so easy to start either one of those projects, but I have to get the secret knitting done soon.

To continue with my plan of making our property work for us, I am going to start beekeeping this spring. My big gift this past Christmas was an apiary, and I am patiently waiting to set things up outside and pick up my bees. I've had The Beekeeper's Handbook for a few months, but I finally sat down and read through it last week. I'm excited!

So how has everyone else been this past week? I plan on writing more of an update later this week when time permits. Happy Wednesday!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday Yarn Along

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Linking up with Small Things..

I am so giddy to report that the sleeves are attached to the sweater and I am decreasing on the front/back of Mom's sweater! Sunday I was ready to attach the sleeves (and I don't typically enjoy this part) so I hauled all the sweater pieces over to Karen's house and had her cheer me on. When it comes to sew the seam under the arm I'll get her assistance again to help line it up (that's the part I really don't like). Since the end is near, I have put down the secret knitting to focus on this only.

I got clarification on if I can read during quiet time at work (I can), so I am planning on hauling books with me to read when I can. Knitting can stay at home (or knitting group) and my free time in the mornings I typically dedicate to studying and homework so there isn't a lot of reading time available.

Last week Steve was working in Ohio and two of the days he was in Orrville (Home of Smuckers!). While there he also went by Lehman's and snagged the book Backyard Sugarin' for me from my book wish list. I am ever determined to make our city plot of land work for us, and tapping our Maple tree is tops on that list. I'm not expecting a huge production of syrup, just a few jars that we can have in our pantry. Plus I think it would be a fun activity to at least try.

Other than that I have been hunting down projects for all of my newly acquired yarn. I think it makes Steve nervous when he sees boxes of yarn out, but I just have to gently remind him that at I'm merely knitting, not buying. ;)

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday Yarn Along

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Linking up with Small Things..  

The only books I have even looked at in the past week were my textbooks so I didn't include them in this photo (plus it would be hard to since they're both etexts ;-) ). It was so busy last week with the start of the semester and extended hours in my office that I just was exhausted to post to Yarn Along.

I'm extremely excited about the progress I have made on Mom's sweater! I have only four more inches to go on the body before the sleeves come in to play and this makes me giddy. It looks good, it feels good, and I can knit the pattern rows in a flash of time it seems. I've been taking it with me and knitting in the car before I go into work, but I think I might actually bring it in today (and not just because it's 2 degrees out). Every time I wear a knitted creation to work, the girls in my department Ooo and Aahh and I tell them I'm extremely lucky to have a talented Mom who keeps me happy in handknits. I'd like to show them what I am working on for her.

Oh and that little pink blurb? That's more secret knitting. Last week I said to myself that I needed to work on that secret project again because it is long overdue, but I have been so focused on the sweater lately. So I decided I would knit a certain amount on each. It was working until I realized I was almost done with the body of the sweater and the skein of yarn attached (I only have two more skeins! Eee!). So I will probably wait until Friday before I work on more of the secret project.

So how are you all doing? Are you staying warm? Staying busy? Have a wonderful week!